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Call Us Today!
(517) 487-3707
Call Us Today!
(517) 487-3707



The disability lawyers at MedLaw Associates, P.C. offer small-firm personal service and decades of social Security disability experience.

Many people find the Social Security process overwhelming.  For this reason, disabled people often abandon their fight for badly needed benefits when they encounter obstacles or attitudes they do not understand.  Since a claimant’s best chance of being awarded disability benefits is at the hearing level, giving up too soon can be a big mistake.  That’s where we come in.  Our job is to help you navigate the application and appeal process and  help you present the best possible case if you must go to a hearing.   This is discussed more fully in the section on “How We Can Help”.
Because we are a small, local law firm, we have the luxury of being able to provide our clients with personal attention.   The process of applying for disability, gathering evidence to support your case and preparing for a hearing can be a challenging process. We will meet with you in person when we begin work on your case and will be available every step of the way to help you with issues that arise.  We will be there to answer the questions that will come up as your case makes its way through the long process of disability determination.   When it is time for your hearing, we will meet with you to go over the evidence to make certain that all documentation which could help your case has been obtained and submitted to the judge.
Because we are attorneys who are  licensed in Michigan and have been admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court in Michigan,  we are prepared to not only represent you at a hearing before an Administrative Law judge, but also at the Appeals Council and at the  U.S. District Court  if that should become necessary.
If you are looking for a Social Security disability lawyer to help you through the application or appeals process, you have several options. You can pick a lawyer at random from the phone book; you can contact a large law firm, where some of the lawyers do Social Security disability work some of the time; you can contact a national law firm that processes Social Security disability claims in an impersonal, cookie-cutter manner; or you can call us – two women lawyers who live and work in the local community, and practice Michigan Social Security disability law exclusively.
Several aspects of our practice make us unique:
  1. Our office is informal. We work out of a house, just a few doors up from the river.
  2. Our practice is small. Every one of our Social Security disability clients gets our personal attention.
  3. We listen. Our first order of business is to get to know you and to understand the circumstances that brought you to our office.

We have been serving Michigan Social Security disability claimants for decades. We bring this knowledge and experience to bear on every case, for every client.

You can learn more about us here. Below, we have provided some basic information about the application and appeals process and the factors Social Security will consider in making a disability determination in your case. More information on these topics can be found in our Social Security disability library at the bottom of this page. We hope you will find the materials on the site to be educational and informative. Of course, if you have additional questions, or if you just would like to talk about your situation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How does the application and appeals process work?

Initial application
You may file an initial application for disability benefits online (at, or by calling the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213) and scheduling an appointment to apply by phone or in person at a local Social Security office. Whichever method you choose, you will need to provide Social Security with information about your medical condition and treatment history, your medications, and your work history. We often find that potential clients are more than capable of filing an initial application for benefits on their own. However, depending on the circumstances of a particular case, we may decide that help with the application could be beneficial. In that case, we will assist the claimant in filing the application.

First appeal: administrative hearing

Multiple levels of appeal are available to you if the Social Security Administration denies your initial application. The first level of appeal is a hearing before an administrative law judge. While this may sound intimidating, the hearing is a golden opportunity. It is your chance to meet the person who will be deciding your claim, look him in the eye, and explain in detail how your condition prevents you from working. This face-to-face contact often makes a strong impression on the decision-maker. It may explain why, even though most initial applications are denied, more than half of all claimants who appear before an administrative law judge are granted benefits. We have extensive experience preparing claimants and witnesses for disability hearings; to learn more about how we may be able to help you, read How We Help Michigan Social Security Disability Claimants and Guide to Michigan Social Security Disability Hearings.

Subsequent appeals

If the administrative law judge denies your claim for disability benefits, all is not lost. You may appeal that decision to the Social Security Appeals Council and, if your claim is denied a third time, take your case to federal court.

How does Social Security determine whether to grant or deny benefits?
In determining whether to grant or deny your claim for benefits, the Social Security decision-maker will apply a 5-factor analysis:
  1. Are you presently working? [No.]
  2. Do you have a severe mental or physical condition? [Yes.]
  3. Does your condition meet the criteria of a condition found in the Social Security Listing of Impairments? [If so, then you are disabled as a matter of law.]
  4. Can you do any job you’ve done previously? [No.]
  5. Are you able to adapt to some other type of generally available work? [No.]

This analysis is called the sequential evaluation process. It works like a flowchart, in that the questions must be asked in order and a wrong answer at any point will result in a denial of benefits. To learn more about the disability determination process, read Two Paths to an Award of Benefits.

Contact the Lansing disability lawyers at MedLaw Associates PC

No rule or regulation requires you to enlist the help of a lawyer in applying for benefits or appealing a denial. If you choose to, you may do it all on your own. Even the Social Security Administration admits, however, that your chances of obtaining benefits improve when you rely on a knowledgeable disability lawyer to guide the way.

At MedLaw Associates PC, we have been helping disabled individuals get the benefits they deserve since 1987. We handle claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security disability is all we do. If you would like our help, please call or email us directly.

We wish you well.

Ellen M. Hart
Marsha E. Wood

Call Us Today At ♦ (517) 487-3707

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MedLaw Associates PC

125 E Kilborn St.
Lansing, MI 48906

(517) 487-3707


Business Hours:
Mon.-Fri. 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.